Rarities

When I was working electrical work in conjunction with the Hill County (Montana) road crew, there were a couple of men (brothers) on that crew who came from Arabia.  They were tough hard working men.  One of the brothers worked with my brother, Marke.  In the late winter and early spring when there were ice blockages in the culverts and drainages the guy from Arabia would crawl out into the ice waters to clear the blockages by hand.

I visited with this guy quite a lot.  He often informed me of the many things we had in our country that were invented in Arabia.  One of the items that intrigued me was our alphabet.

Another man that worked with us a lot was an ex-German soldier.  Since this was soon after WWII ended he was always subdued when it came to discussions about the war.  Conversation always drifted into an economic discussion about who lost more.  We concluded no one actually won anything in the long run.  I remember his references to a chisel.  He always called it a “shissel.”

There was also a painter in Montana that, for his time, was pretty much an entrepreneur.  He would buy a vacant farm house and move it into town.  We would re-wire the house when it was set, and he would re-sell it.

When he moved the house onto a town lot, he would take out the electric water heater and replace it with a gas water heater.  I got one of the electric ones and I still have it.  It was designed with an internal “dry well” that was used to heat the water.  I thought it was a good idea because the heater element would never burn out.  Those types of water heaters are rare in this country.

There are also other types of workmates; the kind who are difficult and hard to work with.  One example is a group of brothers.  I’m not sure now if there were two or three of them when I first ran into them.

They would travel together to wherever they could find work.  The Union boys called them Travelers.  In one instance one of the brothers had a small piece of wire fall off of a cabinet and land on his shoulder.  He was so badly injured that he had to be transported to the local hospital.  While he was gone I was given his assignment to complete.  He had been making connections in a large junction box.

We had been given explicit and careful instructions on how it was to be made up.  The wires to be landed had to be the exact correct length and could not be spliced.  When I started to complete this guy’s work I found out he had been hooking up the wires backward.  Some of the wires were too long and could be shortened.  But there were several that were too short to go where they needed to go.

After looking it over I called the Forman over and asked his advice on how to proceed.  He authorized me to go ahead and splice what I needed to, but to “Splice as few as you can.”

I was never told if that technique passed inspection.  Years later I came across those brothers again in the Spokane valley.  They had nearly ruined a contractor there.

There is a saying that; “It takes all kinds.”

I think we could do without some kinds.

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